Youth Men­tal Health Cham­pi­ons Stu­dents re­ceived ‘Youth Cham­pion’ train­ing

Shoreline Beacon - - News -

grades 7 to 10 stu­dents from seven Blue­wa­ter dis­trict School Board schools joined for an in­ter­ac­tive and in­for­ma­tive day of men­tal health train­ing oct. 25 at the Blue­wa­ter out­door Ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre near Wiar­ton.

the youth men­tal health and ad­dic­tion cham­pi­ons Project is of­fered through the reg­is­tered nurses as­so­ci­a­tion of on­tario, Pub­lic health units, and School men­tal health aS­SiSt, to sup­port stu­dents in be­com­ing men­tal health lead­ers within their schools

Par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents have been iden­ti­fied by their peers as ‘nat­u­ral helpers’ to re­ceive ‘youth cham­pion’ train­ing, which em­pow­ers them to pro­mote well­ness ini­tia­tives in their schools, while re­duc­ing men­tal health stigma and rais­ing sub­stance abuse aware­ness.

the prospec­tive youth cham­pi­ons en­gage in a day of in-depth learn­ing about men­tal health and well­be­ing, which in­cludes com­mon mis­per­cep­tions and stereo­types, the im­pact of stress, the im­por­tance of nu­tri­tion and sleep, re­silience and cop­ing strate­gies, the mis­use of dif­fer­ent types of sub­stances, and avail­able com­mu­nity re­sources. once the stu­dents have been des­ig­nated as youth cham­pi­ons, they are con­nected with lead teach­ers in their re­spec­tive schools as they work to co­or­di­nate ini­tia­tives to sup­port their stu­dent peers.

the youth men­tal health and ad­dic­tion cham­pi­ons Project is just one ex­am­ple of the many ways in which Blue­wa­ter dis­trict School Board is hon­our­ing its strate­gic pri­or­ity to “en­sure the well-be­ing of stu­dents and staff in a safe sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment for teach­ing, learn­ing and work­ing.”

this en­com­passes the goal to “cre­ate con­di­tions where stu­dents, staff, and par­ents/care­givers are com­fort­able and con­fi­dent in seek­ing help and re­spond­ing to stu­dent men­tal health and emo­tional well-be­ing.” Blue­wa­ter’s youth cham­pi­ons are lead­ing the way in ac­tu­al­iz­ing this crit­i­cally im­por­tant pri­or­ity and as­so­ci­ated goal!

the day was made pos­si­ble thanks to the part­ner­ship be­tween the grey Bruce health unit and Blue­wa­ter dis­trict School Board, in ad­di­tion to gen­er­ous fund­ing sup­port from Bruce Power. an amount of $200 in prize money re­ceived from a tele­phone book photo con­test in the Bruce Penin­sula Press was also do­nated by Blue­wa­ter’s men­tal health lead rene lan­gen to as­sist with the event.

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